Don’t seek in this post the review of the film The Color of Pomegranates, a film claiming to not be a biography of the poet Sayat-Nova, but is in fact merely striving to convey, by means of cinema, the pictorial world of that poetry. This post strives to convey not a review of the film, but merely a feel, by means of rambling words and poorly planned introductions, of how much the writer didn’t care for it one bit. It takes a special kind of film to have me bored to the point of turning it off within the opening sixty seconds, but by jove The Color of Pomegranates came mighty close. A block of dishwater-dull text on a yawn-inducing pink background, accompanied by no music or sound of any kind. Of course it would be some years before George Lucas would show the world that the text should be ploughing off into space accompanied by some driving instrumental, but I feel more could have been done with this.
Mere minutes after I somehow maintained a conscious state during the intro, I quickly realised this was not going to be a pleasant experience as I was treated to the kinds of artistic nonsense that often plagues films from the 1001 List. Still shots of fruit – probably pomegranates, one would hope – bleeding onto sheets of paper. Feet crushing berries. Fish flapping their last flops next to some curved driftwood. Still images of book pages. All accompanied by a droning, wasp-like buzz from an instrument I hope to never encounter again.
For you see, this is another one of those narrative-deprived films I despise so furiously. It’s a loose depiction of Sayat-Nova’s life interspersed with some of his poetry, which is a pretty succinct way of describing one of the last things I’d ever wish to commit my time to watching. Especially when you add scenes involving dead chicken blood and the killing and gutting of livestock – I’m not sure if it was sheep or goats, and I’ve no intention of going back and finding out, as I may actually throw up that time.
It’s pretty clear everything going on is heavily symbolic of something, but I’m damned if I’ve any clue what any of it means. Why is there a man carrying a peacock? And why is that peacock’s beak in his mouth? Why is that boy lying amidst dozens of books, their pages flapping in the wind? Why is that church filling up with sheep during a funeral? If the aim was to convey the feeling one would get from poetry then congratulations, because I spent most of this film with my mind wandering to other things, trying not to fall asleep and basically just wishing it would all end.
Choose Life 1/10